GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
considered. The future commitments of both the Australian and Queensland governments identified in the program reports of the strategic assessments7,8 are part of these considerations. They recognise the need to implement a management framework that: • establishes measurable ecosystem outcomes and is driven by specific measurable targets • will either prevent or reduce cumulative impacts • enables a net benefit approach to help achieve outcomes and targets, especially in areas requiring restoration • is supported by a comprehensive integrated monitoring and reporting framework. The reports recognise that, while avoiding, mitigating and offsetting impacts remain a very important focus of management efforts, these are not sufficient on their own because, in many areas, the system now needs policies of restoration, not simply prevention of damage. Additional interventions that deliver an overall positive effect (net benefit) are required to halt and reverse the decline in the Region’s ecosystem health and ensure the longterm protection and restoration of its values. Using ecosystem outcomes and targets as a guide, initiatives are foreshadowed in: • environmental regulation • engagement • knowledge, integration and innovation. environmental regulation Through management tools such as regulations, zoning plans, plans of management, permits and compliance, management agencies will continue to set and refine the environmental standards necessary to achieve the desired goals, outcomes and targets for the Region’s values. The continued effectiveness of the zoning plans rely in part on the continued enforcement of zoning arrangements and ensuring Reef users are aware of the plans and their provisions. engagement Protection of the Great Barrier Reef requires local, national and international effort. A program of Reef Recovery — adopting regionalised and cooperative management approaches that support local communities and encourage cooperation between government agencies, the private sector and research institutions — will be developed to implement actions to protect and restore biodiversity hotspots and support sustainable use. Ongoing and collaborative working relationships will instil a sense of collective stewardship. This approach will provide a strong foundation for maintaining a balance between protecting the Region’s values, managing competing demands and supporting sustainable use. Knowledge, integration and innovation Accessing the best available science from a network of science providers, both nationally and internationally, as well as drawing on traditional ecological knowledge and information from the wider Figure 10.2 current and future initiatives to improve the community is essential for effective management. Building on region’s resilience existing programs, such as long-term coral and fish monitoring undertaken by the Australian Institute of Marine Science and marine monitoring managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, monitoring will continue to provide evidence of changes in the ecosystem as well as the effectiveness of management actions. Filling key information gaps through targeted research will be critical, and monitoring will be used to assess the success of management measures. Implementing a Reef-wide integrated monitoring and reporting program which directly links to an outcomes-based management framework will underpin an adaptive management approach. The framework will guide the establishment of a standardised and integrated ecological, social and economic monitoring program for the Great Barrier Reef.